In 1970, twenty-two-year-old Thom Henley left Michigan and drifted around the northwest coast, getting by on odd jobs and advice from even odder characters. He rode the rails, built a squatter shack on a beach, came to be known as "Huckleberry" and embarked on adventures along the West Coast and abroad that, just like his Mark Twain namesake, situated him in all the right and wrong places at all the right and wrong times. Eventually, a hippie named Stormy directed him to Haida Gwaii where, upon arrival, a Haida Elder affirmed to the perplexed Huckleberry that she had been expecting him. From that point onward, Henley's life unfolded as if destiny were at work--perhaps with a little help from Raven, the legendary trickster.
While kayaking the remote area around South Moresby Island, Henley was struck by the clear-cut logging and desecration of ancient Haida village sites. Henley collaborated with the Haida for the next fourteen years to spearhead the largest environmental campaign in Canadian history and the creation of Gwaii Haanas National Park. Later, he became a co-founder of Rediscovery--a wilderness program for First Nations and non-aboriginal youth that would become a global model for reconciliation.
Henley's story is peppered with a cast of unlikely characters serendipitously drawn together, such as the time he hosted then-Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and entourage, including five-year-old Justin Trudeau, at his remote driftwood hippie hut (the visit was unanticipated and at the time the helicopter touched down, Henley and a friend were doing laundry). Over and over, Henley found himself at the epicentre of significant events that included a historic train caravan across Canada, an epic Haida canoe voyage, an indigenous rights campaign world tour for the Penan tribespeople of Borneo, as well as two global disasters--the 2004 South Asian tsunami and the 2015 Nepal earthquake.
Beautifully recounted with passion, humour and humility, Raven Walks around the World is a moving and thoughtful account of a life lived in harmony with the land and community.
About the author
Thom Henley is an environmentalist, human rights advocate, and author or co-author of ten previous books including Islands at the Edge: Preserving the Queen Charlotte Archipelago (Douglas & McIntyre, 1984) and Rediscovery: Ancient Pathways, New Directions (Lone Pine, 1996). He was formally adopted by the Haida and bestowed with the new name "Yaahl Hlaagaay Gwii Kaas" (Raven Walks around the World). When he's not travelling, leading outdoor education trips or at his summer camp on the Skeena River, Henley lives in Victoria, BC.
- Short-listed, Foreword Indies Book of the Year Award - Autobiography & Memoir
"An environmental activist, educator, and intrepid traveler recounts his efforts to protect the wilderness. ...Consumed by wanderlust, he traveled to 130 countries on every continent, including Antarctica, by air, land, and sea. Lecturing on a superluxurious private ship, he reflected on his peripatetic life: 'From hitchhiking barefoot and penniless in Central America to cruising aboard the largest and most exclusive passenger vessel that continually circumnavigates the globe, I’d pretty much seen it all.' ... A celebration of nature and passionate call for stewardship of the planet."
The Ormsby Review